ERIC Number: ED361721
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Students' Right to Their Language: Distinguishing Patterns and Varieties.
Dumas, Bethany K.; Garber, Darrell H.
The wide gap that exists between linguists and English teachers accounts for some of the difficulty involved in determining whether or not students "have a right to their own language." Linguists generally concern themselves with cognitive sufficiency; whereas, English teachers, concerned with behavioral sufficiency, encounter language within the context of its use. The responsibility of the teacher to the speaker of a nonstandard dialect lies in two areas, teaching spoken English and teaching written English. Four conceivable goals of teaching spoken English are: eradicationism: the students would control Standard English and give up Nonstandard English; the student would give up Nonstandard English but would not be explicitly taught Standard English; bidialectalism: the students would be taught Standard English and allowed to retain Nonstandard English; or the student would retain Nonstandard English and Standard English would not be taught. With respect to the teaching of written English, various stages of development must be considered as well as the social and institutional contexts within which the writing is taking place. The basic generalities which apply to these two areas imply that patterns and varieties of English that genuinely reflect "the dialects of students' nurture in which they find their own identity and style" must be identified before a valid discussion of students' rights to their own language can take place. (Two appendixes provide samples of student writing.) (NH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A